Prepare for a tight race.
Considered the worst division in football despite sending the most NFC Champions to the Super Bowl since 2001.
This year will be a changing of the guard, but not like some may think.
Yes the Cardinals lost some key personnel but they gained a few as well. Also, Derek Anderson is not the worst QB in the league.
Sam Bradford is nowhere near ready and although the Rams offensive line is not even in the bottom 5, it's not good enough for Bradford to have a productive year. I foresee him being out of the league in 5 seasons, but this year will not be his worst as he will most likely be injured later in the year. A.J. Feeley won't be too much better.
Something about the Seahawks and Rams every year spells a tight game. I think the Rams win both of their outings, the season finale should be meaningless but hold more weight for the Rams.
Leon Washington and Charlie Whitehurst don't spell winning season to me, at least not this year.
I see the Seahawks starting 2-0, beating division rival San Francisco. Then it all goes downhill. Blame it on the schedule or blame it on the youth factor, whatever it is, I see wins coming hard. I look for two late wins against the Falcons and Panthers.
Perhaps I am an optimist, but I think the Cardinals retain some bite. Call it expected wins against the Seahawks and Rams. I also think they pull some upsets and remain respectable, even vying for a wild card spot depending on the rest of the NFC.
Weeks 1-3 against Rams, Falcons and Raiders
Seahawks week 7 & 10
Vikings, Chiefs, Rams and Broncos weeks 9, 11 & 13-14
I see a lot of explosive offense and shutdown defense coming this season. Mike Singletary is a legendary coach in the making, taking over for Ditka in his aggressiveness. They will finish as one of the elite teams in the NFC, not just in record standing but intimidation and a viable Super Bowl contender.
I expect an 0-2 start, but followed with a 6 game win streak that bring them into the BYE week in full swing. They continue that streak after the BYE with wins against the Rams, Bucs and Cardinals.
The last 3 wins come against the Seahawks, Rams and Cardinals to finish 5-1 in the division.
The Cardinals could win the wild card. Assuming they don't however the 49ers will represent in the NFC playoffs, continuing a very impressive win streak by NFC West champions in winning their first playoff game. If 12-4 is enough for one of the top 2 seeds, 9ers fans can hope for an NFC Championship Appearance. If 12-4 lands a wild card spot, I'd expect a Divisional Round appearance at the least.